BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ACS CANADA
Gary has been working for ACS his entire career, starting in the London headquarters in 2001. His outstanding work at university earned him the prestigious title of ‘Student of the Year’, presented by the Guardian/Observer Association of Business Schools. Gary initially joined ACS as a broker in the Cargo department - his knowledge and passion for the industry proved invaluable, and he was appointed Cargo Sales Director of New York in May 2007. By 2010 it was clear that Gary was the right person to spearhead North America’s expansion, and opened the Toronto office in 2010 where he remains today, as Managing Director.
As the son of a pilot, Chris Leach has always had aviation in his blood. Starting out with Saturn Airways in the 1970s, Chris has experience of almost every aspect of the aviation business, from dealing with passenger flights all over Europe, to his role in Sudan in the early 80s with Transamerica Airlines, where he coordinated aircraft during the great famine transporting personnel and aid. He founded ACS in 1990 from the basement of his home in Kingston, and his knowledge of the aviation market won him several key contracts for passenger and cargo flights with organisations such as the United Nations. Deciding never to take a bank loan, but instead to grow the business organically, Chris re-invested heavily in the business and grew it from its humble beginnings to the leading global company that it is today. His key beliefs have always remained that personal service is what the airline industry is all about and that if you go the extra mile for the customer, they will always come back and, as a result, the business will grow. Chris has been honoured in recent years for his work in aviation, with two lifetime achievement awards, as well as being invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and been inducted into the TIACA Hall of Fame, alongside such luminaries as Fred Smith, the Founder Chairman of Federal Express.
Christine has worked in all administrative areas of ACS and has served as a Director and Company Secretary since the beginning. At one time or another, she has headed up the company’s Finance and Legal teams, but now concentrates on her role as Non-Executive Director. She also chairs the charity committee and plays a key role in developing the company’s CSR activity.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Justin is renowned in the charter industry for his encyclopaedic knowledge of all things aviation. This, combined with his enthusiasm on the subject, has made him one of the most trusted and successful aircraft charter experts in Europe over the past three decades. Starting his tenure with ACS in 1992, Justin rose through the ranks to the position of Group CEO in 2013. He is a key member of the ACS & Mountfitchet Group (Holding Company) boards and was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 2016. In his spare time he enjoys following his football team, Brighton & Hove Albion, and is a keen golfer. Justin lives with his wife and their three children in Surrey.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Ruan has been with ACS for more than 15 years and has held a number of key management roles. Initially in the London Cargo department, he then diversified his knowledge and worked on the executive jets side of the business. In 2004, Ruan became President of North American operations before moving back to the UK and taking on the role of International Development Director, later becoming Group Director of Executive Jets. Having developed an impressive and diverse range of knowledge across global markets and a wide range of departments, Ruan was appointed COO of ACS in 2013.
GROUP COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR
Justin is a highly experienced charter expert who counts some of the biggest names in the industry amongst his clients. He started out in the charter world in the former ACS operations base in Ostend, where he became an expert in the ground operations essential to running a successful charter. He then moved to the sales side of the business where this experience was used to great effect and his practical knowledge has proved extremely valuable to the ACS board. Justin was appointed Group Commercial Director in 2013.
GROUP EXECUTIVE JETS DIRECTOR
Andrew has been instrumental in the growth of both the Private Charter division and the North American offices. Originally working in the London office, Andrew moved to New York in 2008, eventually being promoted to President, North America. In 2014 he returned to ACS headquarters in London to take charge of all private aircraft operations worldwide.
GROUP FINANCE DIRECTOR
Stewart Pitt is another hugely experienced member of the ACS management team. Stewart trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1997 and then spent six years at British Airways. Stewart initially joined BA as an Internal Audit Manager and later became the Financial Controller for the airline’s catering operations worldwide. He then spent two years at the London Stock Exchange managing the company’s financial planning and forecasting processes as well as being involved in several M&A projects. Stewart joined ACS in 2006 and has overseen the financial aspects of the group’s globalisation, implementing financial processes and controls in all ACS offices. Stewart’s knowledge and experience has proved invaluable since his arrival and has resulted in ACS being one of the most financially secure charter companies in the world.
GROUP MARKETING DIRECTOR
Having worked in all three main divisions at ACS - the Private, Group and Cargo departments - in both operations and account management, James moved to the Marketing department in 2007. He was appointed Group Marketing Director in 2011 and has grown the department in both size and effect exponentially. James is responsible for all marketing strategies, including the implementation of new customer technology.
GROUP LEGAL DIRECTOR & GROUP COMPANY SECRETARY
After qualifying as a solicitor, Omar worked in-house in software and recruitment before joining ACS in 2013. Since then, he’s been involved in negotiating high-value commercial contracts, commercial litigation and employment law, as well as streamlining and building upon the group’s diligent and thorough compliance procedures. He plays an important role in maintaining service quality and managing risk as ACS continues to grow globally.
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